By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Are you dreaming of a White Christmas in Colorado this year? Long range computer models show the potential for a storm system to cross the Rocky Mountains sometime between Dec. 24-26.

The map below is from the GFS model ran at 5 a.m. on Monday, December 13. The data is showing what the weather map could look like by 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The areas of blue show potential pockets of snow in the mountains as Santa starts to make his rounds.

(credit: College of DuPage)

When looped the model did show some snow showers trying to push across the foothills by sunrise on Christmas Day, but it’s just way too far out to nail down a specific forecast. Future model runs could look a lot different, potentially erasing any chance for fresh snow.

The fact that it shows the potential for some type of active weather to be in our region around Dec. 25 offers some hope at the chance to see a White Christmas. Let’s say it snows in the mountains but not in Denver, a short car ride to the west could make your dream of a White Christmas come true.

A WHITE CHRISTMAS DEFINED

The definition of a White Christmas can vary from person to person. For some, it means actual snow falling from the sky on Christmas Day. But for others it simply means having some snow on the ground, regardless of when it fell.

In meteorology, the official definition of a White Christmas is to have at least one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. It doesn’t matter if that snow is fresh or old, as long as it is there.

The map below shows the probability of that happening using weather data from 1991-2020. It’s basically a 100% chance to have at least one inch of snow on the ground in the mountains of Colorado on Christmas Day. The chance is much lower on the plains where the southeast corner has roughly a 10% chance. For the Denver area, the chance ranges from 25 to 50% in any given year, depending on where you live.

Chris Spears